Planning Your Pregnancy - Why Is It Important?
Fellowship in Gynae Endoscopy, FMAS, DNB, DGO, MBBS
21 years experience
Planning your pregnancy means thinking about what it means to have a baby and making decisions with your partner about the future of your family. Are you ready to be parents now? Or do you want to wait a while?
Certain tips you must follow before you try to get pregnant:
- Schedule a preconception visit: You don't have to have a doctor or midwife lined up to deliver your baby yet, but consult gynaecologist, midwife or family doctor now for a preconception checkup.Your practitioner will likely discuss diet, weight, exercise and any unhealthy habits you may have (such as smoking, drinking, and taking drugs); recommend a multivitamin; make sure you're up to date on your immunizations.
- Take folic acid (and watch out for vitamin A): You can buy folic acid supplements at the drugstore, or you can take a prenatal or regular multivitamin. Check the label on multivitamins to make sure they contain the 400 mcg of folic acid you need.
- Give up binge drinking, smoking, and drugs and get help if you need it: If you smoke or take drugs, now's the time to stop. Many studies have shown that smoking or taking drugs can lead to miscarriage, premature birth and low-birth-weight babies.
- Stock your fridge with healthy foods: You're not eating for two yet, but you should start making nutritious food choices now so your body will be stocked up with the nutrients you need for a healthy pregnancy.
- Check your caffeine intake: While there's no consensus on exactly how much caffeine is safe during pregnancy, experts agree that pregnant women and those trying to conceive should avoid consuming large amounts.
- Aim for a healthy weight: You may have an easier time conceiving if you're at a healthy weight. Having a low or high body mass index (BMI) makes it harder for some women to become pregnant.
- Create and follow an exercise program: Start and stick to a fitness plan now, and you'll be rewarded with a healthy body that's fit for pregnancy.
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